2 Chronicles 7:2
And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord.—Hardly a different assertion from that of 2Chronicles 5:14 (“ the priests could not stand to minister”); the cause in both instances being the same, and expressed in the same words (1Kings 8:11). But it is quite plain that the writer intends to record in 2 Chronicles 5, 7 two distinct appearances of the Divine glory, one before and one after the Prayer of Consecration, both of which were attended by the same effects upon the ministering priests.

7:1-22 God's answer to Solomon's prayer. - God gave a gracious answer to Solomon's prayer. The mercies of God to sinners are made known in a manner well suited to impress all who receive them, with his majesty and holiness. The people worshipped and praised God. When he manifests himself as a consuming Fire to sinners, his people can rejoice in him as their Light. Nay, they had reason to say, that God was good in this. It is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, but the sacrifice in our stead, for which we should be very thankful. And whoever beholds with true faith, the Saviour agonizing and dying for man's sin, will, by that view, find his godly sorrow enlarged, his hatred of sin increased, his soul made more watchful, and his life more holy. Solomon prosperously effected all he designed, for adorning both God's house and his own. Those who begin with the service of God, are likely to go on successfully in their own affairs. It was Solomon's praise, that what he undertook, he went through with; it was by the grace of God that he prospered in it. Let us then stand in awe, and sin not. Let us fear the Lord's displeasure, hope in his mercy, and walk in his commandments.The fire came down from heaven - As in the time of Moses on the dedication of the tabernacle Leviticus 9:24 The fact is omitted from the narrative of Kings; but omission is not contradiction. 2. the priests could not enter—Both from awe of the miraculous fire that was burning on the altar and from the dense cloud that enveloped the sanctuary, they were unable for some time to perform their usual functions (see on [421]1Ki 8:10). But afterwards, their courage and confidence being revived, they approached the altar and busied themselves in the offering of an immense number of sacrifices. No text from Poole on this verse.

And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord,.... They went in to carry the ark thither, but not being able to stand to minister, they came out, and could not reenter:

because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house; both the holy place, and the holy of holies, see 1 Kings 8:10.

And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD's house.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. the priests could not enter] Cp. 2 Chronicles 5:14.

2 Chronicles 7:2At the conclusion of Solomon's prayer there fell fire from heaven, which devoured the burnt-offering and the thank-offering, and the glory of the Lord filled the house, so that the priests could not enter the house of Jahve. The assembled congregation, when they saw the fire and the glory of the Lord descend, bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped God to praise. Now since this narrative is not found in 1 Kings 8:54., and there a speech of Solomon to the whole congregation, in which he thanks God for the fulfilment of His promise, and expresses the desire that the Lord would hear his prayers at all times, and bestow the promised salvation on the people, is communicated, modern criticism has rejected this narrative of the Chronicle as a later unhistorical embellishment of the temple dedication. "If we turn our attention," says Berth. in agreement with Then., "to 2 Chronicles 5:11-14, and compare 2 Chronicles 5:14 with our second verse, we must maintain that our historian found that there existed two different narratives of the proceedings at the dedication of the temple, and received both into his work. According to the one narrative, the clouds filled the house (1 Kings 8:10, cf. 2 Chronicles 5:11-14); and after this was done Solomon uttered the prayer, with the conclusion which we find in 1 Kings 8; according to the other narrative, Solomon uttered the prayer, with the conclusion which we find in Chron., and God thereafter gave the confirmatory signs. Now we can hardly imagine that the course of events was, that the glory of Jahve filled the house (2 Chronicles 5:14); that then Solomon spoke the words and the prayer in 2 Chronicles 6; that while he uttered the prayer the glory of Jahve again left the house, and then came down in a way manifest to all the people (2 Chronicles 7:3), in order to fill the house for a second time." Certainly it was not so; but the narrative itself gives no ground for any such representation. Not a word is said in the text of the glory of Jahve having left the temple during Solomon's prayer. The supposed contradiction between 2 Chronicles 5:14 and the account in 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 is founded entirely on a misinterpretation of our verse. The course of events described here was, as the words run, this: Fire came down from heaven upon the sacrifices and devoured them, and the glory of the Lord filled the house; and this is in 2 Chronicles 7:3 more exactly and precisely repeated by the statement that the people saw the fire and the glory of Jahve descend upon the house. According to these plain words, the glory of Jahve descended upon the temple in the fire which came down from heaven. In the heavenly fire which devoured the sacrifices, the assembled congregation saw the glory of the Lord descend upon the temple and fill it. But the filling of the temple by the cloud when the ark was brought in and set in its place (2 Chronicles 5:13) can be without difficulty reconciled with this manifestation of the divine glory in the fire. Just as the manifestation of the gracious divine presence in the temple by a cloud, as its visible vehicle, does not exclude the omnipresence of God or His sitting enthroned in heaven, God's essence not being so confined to the visible vehicle of His gracious presence among His people that He ceases thereby to be enthroned in heaven, and to manifest Himself therefrom; so the revelation of the same God from heaven by a descending fire is not excluded or set aside by the presence of the cloud in the holy place of the temple, and in the most holy. We may consequently quite well represent to ourselves the course of events, by supposing, that while the gracious presence of God enthroned above the cherubim on the ark made itself known in the cloud which filled the temple, or while the cloud filled the interior of the temple, God revealed His glory from heaven, before the eyes of the assembled congregation, in the fire which descended upon the sacrifices, so that the temple was covered or overshadowed by His glory. The parts of this double manifestation of the divine glory are clearly distinguished even in our narrative; for in 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 the cloud which filled the house, as vehicle of the manifestation of the divine glory, and which hindered the priests from standing and serving (in the house, i.e., in the holy place and the most holy), is spoken of; while in our verses, again, it is the glory of God which descended upon the temple in the fire coming down from heaven on the sacrifices, and so filled it that the priests could not enter it, which is noticed.

Since, therefore, the two passages involve no contradiction, the hypothesis of a compounding together of discrepant narratives loses all standing ground; and it only remains to determine the mutual relations of the two narratives, and to answer the question, why the author of the book of Kings has omitted the account of the fire which came down from heaven upon the sacrifices, and the author of the Chronicle the blessing of the congregation (1 Kings 8:54-61). From the whole plan and character of the two histories, there can be no doubt that in these accounts we have not a perfect enumeration of all the different occurrences, but only a record of the chief things which were done. The authority made use of by both, however, doubtless contained both the blessing of the congregation (1 Kings 8:55-61) and the account of the fire which devoured the sacrifices (2 Chronicles 7:2-3); and probably the latter preceded the blessing spoken by Solomon to the congregation (Kings). In all probability, the fire dame down from heaven immediately after the conclusion of the dedicatory prayer, and devoured the sacrifices lying upon the altar of burnt-offering; and after this had happened, Solomon turned towards the assembled congregation and praised the Lord, because He had given rest to His people, of which the completion of the temple, and the filling of it with the cloud of the divine glory, was a pledge. To record this speech of Solomon to the congregation, falls wholly in with the plan of the book of Kings, in which the prophetic interest, the realization of the divine purpose of grace by the acts and omissions of the kings, is the prominent one; while it did not lie within the scope of his purpose to enter upon a detailed history of the public worship. We should be justified in expecting the fire which devoured the sacrifices to be mentioned in the book of Kings, only if the temple had been first consecrated by this divine act to be the dwelling-place of the gracious presence of God, or a sanctuary of the Lord; but such significance the devouring of the sacrifices by fire coming forth from God did not possess. Jahve consecrated the temple to be the dwelling-place of His name, and the abode of His gracious presence, in proclaiming His presence by the cloud which filled the sanctuary, when the ark was brought into the most holy place. The devouring of the sacrifices upon the altar by fire from heaven was merely the confirmatory sign that the Lord, enthroned above the ark in the temple, accepted, well pleased, the sacrificial service carried on on the altar of this temple; and since the people could draw near to the Lord only with sacrifices before the altar, it was a confirmatory sign that He from His throne would bestow His covenant grace upon those who appeared before him with sacrifices; cf. Leviticus 9:23. Implicitly, this grace was already secured to the people by God's consecrating the sanctuary to be the throne of His grace by the cloud which filled the temple; and the author of the book of Kings thought it sufficient to mention this sign, and passed over the second, which only served as a confirmation of the first. With the chronicler the case was different; for his plan to portray in detail the glory of the worship of the former time, the divine confirmation of the sacrificial worship, which was to be carried on continually in the temple as the only legitimate place of worship, by fire from heaven, was so important that he could not leave it unmentioned; while the words of blessing spoken by Solomon to the congregation, as being already implicitly contained in the dedicatory prayer, did not appear important enough to be received into his book. For the rest, the sacrifices which the fire from heaven devoured are the sacrifices mentioned in 2 Chronicles 5:6, which the king and the congregation had offered when the ark was borne into the temple. As there was an immense number of these sacrifices, they cannot all have been offered on the altar of burnt-offering, but, like the thank-offerings afterwards brought by Solomon and the congregation, must have been offered on the whole space which had been consecrated in the court for this purpose (2 Chronicles 7:7). This is expressly attested by 2 Chronicles 7:7, for the העלות can only be the sacrifices in 2 Chronicles 5:6, since the sacrifices in 2 Chronicles 7:5 of our chapter were only שׁלמים; cf. 1 Kings 8:62.

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